Hiring wedding bands should be a fun part of the planning process – a welcome respite from finalizing the guest list and sorting out seating arrangements. You’re excited to stick on your headphones, sit back, and imagine some amazing live music to stun your guests on the big day. Still, hiring a band can come with its own questions and complexities, so to get all the bases covered it’s a good idea to ask yourself these 10 questions.
1. What will work best for our venue?
If you’re hoping that the music will complement the surroundings for a sense of cohesion and harmony, consider which bands pair best with which venues. Swing bands can work beautifully in grand old houses to transport guests back to the decadence and style of the roaring 20’s, and there’s nothing like an authentic folk band to mirror the rustic vibes of a barn wedding. Beyond the general compatibility of music and location, there are also the technical details of the venue to consider. For example, does it allow amplification – and if so, to what degree?
2. What atmosphere will my band create?
The mood and feel of your wedding day is crucial to remember before booking a wedding band – if it’s all boho dresses, flower crowns and hand-written table cards, will a high-energy metal band seem a bit jarring? Equally, if you and your family and friends are hardcore rock ‘n’ rollers in torn jeans and worn leather, will a string quartet feel a bit too restrained? For a day that flows, it’s important to make sure that the music matches the mood.
3. Will this band be everybody’s cup of tea?
And speaking of a day that flows, it’s worthwhile remembering that we all know people who have some very strong opinions on what ‘good’ music is. While it’s all subjective, there are definitely some styles and genres that are considered to be something of an acquired taste. So if you think that it might result in an empty dance-floor, maybe think twice about that freak folk group or a bit of Spacesynth.
4. What about a spin on some crowd-winning classics?
Then again, it’s your day and it’d be a shame if you sacrificed a band that reflects you and your partner’s personalities for the sake of crowd-pleasing. One way of getting around this is to check the band’s repertoire, and to see if they put their own distinct spin on some sure-fire dance-floor fillers. Thanks to the popularity of acts like Postmodern Jukebox, massive songs with an innovative twist have never been so current.
5. Do I want to meet my guests’ expectations?
And there are more ways than one to please everybody with some slightly unconventional entertainment. For an unforgettable reception, why not consider a group of beatboxers or a combined DJ and musician act to get the party started? You could even opt for a non-musical act like a vintage cabaret magic show or a caricaturist – people would be talking about it for years to come!
6. Do I want the entertainment to be reserved for the evening?
In the midst of wedding planning chaos, you probably don’t need reminding that a wedding spans the whole day. But don’t forget that live music doesn’t need to be reserved for the reception – imagine violin strains accompanying you or your bride in the glide down the aisle, or some mellow jazz to serve as the backdrop to your guests chatting over their champagne glasses. Many bands will even suggest that two members perform as an acoustic duo during the day, and then welcome the rest of the band to the stage for the evening’s more rambunctious entertainment.
7. How far will the band need to travel?
Before you get star-struck by a band, don’t forget to take a look at how far they’d have to travel to get to your venue. If they’re on the other side of the country this could make for some hefty expenses, so if you’re on the hunt for the best deal possible a band based locally may be your best bet.
8. Is this band the right size?
While a 12-piece band with a complete horn section is undeniably a dazzling form of wedding entertainment, you may want to ask yourself if a) the venue has enough space for this kind of set-up, and b) if a smaller band might better fit your budget. Many groups offer a reduced line-up at a lower price, and there are all kinds of ways to achieve a soaring sound without a full band – with sampling, for example, or professionally recorded backing tracks.
9. Is the band experienced in live performance?
If you come across an act that mentions they’re not well-versed in live performance, it’s probably not a good idea to hire them for your big day. The more years a band has had in the game the better, and their having been chosen for events like festivals and prestigious private parties is always a great sign. Things are also looking bright if they’ve had the opportunity to perform alongside popular and well-respected artists.
10. Does the band provide a DJ set?
It’s easily forgotten, but there will be intervals between your bands sets. To avoid a sudden stop followed by awkward silence, you’ll want to sort out some music that can fill these gaps. You could arrange your own playlist, but it might be less stressful to leave the entertainment to the band, who often provide their own DJ playlist as standard to play once they’ve finish their performance. Some acts even offer a manned service, meaning that guests won’t be bothering YOU with their requests.